Thursday, 28 January 2010

Regulation, regulation, regulation ...

People who don't know any better (and my fuck, there are a lot of them!) think that the answer to all the woes of the world is if not more, then "smarter" regulation.

If you think that regulation actually benefits and protects the consumer, watch this video.



Regulation is how big companies prevent small companies from entering the market. They also help to justify more and more government. Any benefit we at the end of the food chain actually get or do not get out of the regulation is entirely accidental and pretty irrelevant to those who create the regulations.

Regulation is NOT your friend.

Tip of the clown wig to LPUK.

32 comments:

SaltedSlug said...

Dunno about that as a universal concept.
I imagine the deregulation of pharmaceuticals would be horrific.

MTG said...

Ooh I don't know, Obno. Wouldn't the World stop if the gullible refused to be exploited?

He's Spartacus said...

Same thing here, but a bit longer....

He's Spartacus said...

Fuck it.

Not there, here.

Anonymous said...

Some regulations/laws I wasn't even aware of

Oldrightie said...

Regulation is just another form of control.

nbc said...

OT Obo but you're looking a bit rough these days

bayard said...

The only use for regulation AFAICS, is to prevent monopolies screwing their customers, something which the current regulatory frameworks fails to do all too often. Everything else falls under "caveat emptor".

Obnoxio The Clown said...

nbc, I couldn't possibly comment.

Salty: people could get certified by a standards body voluntarily, that would provide a level of comfort that the medications were half-decent. The same applies to voluntary certification of things like doctors, also an area where I wouldn't want to trust people just for the hell of it!

The Great Simpleton said...

Big companies also like big government like the EU and federal Government in the USA, that way they only need one lobbying office to lobby just a few people to regulate even bigger markets.

Mr Rob said...

"people could get certified by a standards body voluntarily, that would provide a level of comfort that the medications were half-decent."

So what if the uncertified drugs are cheaper, and bought by the less well-off and less well-educated (compared to you, of course) and some are a bit dodgy....let them die? What if they are for their children?

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Well, Mr Rob: with genuine freedom comes genuine responsibility.

This is why so many prefer to let the government have the responsibility. With the freedom to make real decisions comes the responsibility for the consequences. And that's often difficult.

Mr Rob said...

Thank you for the little lecture Obo. Of course, if children were to die in this way, it would be the responsibility of their stupid/greedy/useless parents...not their own responsibility of course, but hey, not your problem.
No sacrifice made by others is to great a price to pay for your absolute freedom.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Yeah, your way is much better. Nobody needs to think for themselves or needs suffer any consequence for their actions or decisions.

Won't somebody think of the cheeeeeldren?

Mr Rob said...

"Yeah, your way is much better. Nobody needs to think for themselves or needs suffer any consequence for their actions or decisions.

Won't somebody think of the cheeeeeldren?"

You do not know what "my way" is, I was merely pointing out flaws in "your way". I believe you have recently been castigating other bloggers for exaggerating other people's positions, albeit in your own superbly witty manner....

It is interesting that you so quickly fall back on cliché - so much more convenient than having to think, isn't it?

Just to aid your understanding of the issue, the argument was not about people not having to suffer "any consequence for their actions or decisions", but children (not responsible adults) suffering the consequences of the actions of others. Do try to keep up.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Yeah: it's called "Won't somebody think of the cheeeeeldren?"

Because that's how it always starts: the government needs to do something about X, lest a child is hurt. And twenty years later, you can't drink a beer and smoke a cigarette in a pub. Every egregious interference starts off with a perfectly reasonable statement like "it's not about people not having to suffer "any consequence for their actions or decisions", but children (not responsible adults) suffering the consequences of the actions of others."

I'm astonished that I have to explain this to you.

Mr Rob said...

The fact that those who would control us, just as much my enemies as yours, I assure you, use this tactic, does not negate the fact that children are by their very nature vulnerable. Our society, as have almost all others, has recognised this and not placed the same burden of responsibility on children as can be expected as adults. It is probably because this is so universally accepted that it makes such a good tactic for the enemy to employ.

I would not think it a good idea to drive at 60mph down a residential street with parked cars, not for fear of hitting a responsible adult who should have been paying attention, but because a child might run out - I recognise they are different, and I have a moral obligation (according to my own beliefs) to moderate my behaviour accordingly, even if it means curtailing some of my freedoms. And horror of horrors, I also believe it right to curtail this freedom in respect of thoughtless bastards who would not reduce speed if there was not punishment. The same principle operates with respect to drugs - I would err on the side of protection of the innocent and vulnerable, you libertarians it would seem would not. That is not to condone the abuse of such concern, but it is a clear dividing line between us.

There are probably more.

Steven_L said...

Speaking as a regulator, there is a bit of truth in this, but the process in the EU is different than across the pond.

Sometimes politicans and civil servants do get the better of big business (usually so they can save grateful voters from imaginary bogeymen) but they make even worse laws than the multi-nationals do.

As for medicine, you can sell 'unregulated' medicine in the UK, as long as you label it in Chinese, no UK regulator will own up to having responsibility for 'Chinese' medicine, and no Whitehall official has ever been told to make them.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

"I would not think it a good idea to drive at 60mph down a residential street with parked cars, not for fear of hitting a responsible adult who should have been paying attention, but because a child might run out - I recognise they are different, and I have a moral obligation (according to my own beliefs) to moderate my behaviour accordingly, even if it means curtailing some of my freedoms."

I am no different: when I drive in any built-up area, not only do I very strictly observe speed limits, but I also drive even more cautiously than usual, as I am mindful that children do not have any sense of responsibility when it comes to possible traffic.

But how do they acquire that sense of responsibility? Is it the job of Oftraf to teach them not to run out into the road without looking? Is it the job of Ofpaed to teach them not to get into a stranger's car? I believe that if you want to have children, you have to have a sense of responsibility towards them. You, as a parent, need to be responsible for the consequences of your shagging. The fact that the state cleans up behind everyone (badly) means they never learn a sense of responsibility.

And anyway, just because someone has approved a drug does not mean that I would blindly allow my kids to take them.

I take my responsibilities as a parent very seriously, whether it involves chemicals or social norms. I do not accept that in order for me (or anyone else) to do this that we need 87 bazillion regulators of left-nostril-picking-on-Tuesdays.

Your argument about the poorer or less-well-educated smacks of snobbery, because the implication is that these people are incapable of looking after their children.

This, it seems to me, is always the argument of those who would define how everyone else should live their life: I'm smarter and better than you, let me make your decisions for you.

Mr Rob said...

"but I also drive even more cautiously than usual, as I am mindful that children do not have any sense of responsibility when it comes to possible traffic"

But surely this realisation should not impinge upon your behaviour - it is, after all, the responsibility of their parents to ensure that they do not run out into the road is it not? Or do you admit that sometimes parental control is not sufficient to protect the cheeeldren?

"Your argument about the poorer or less-well-educated smacks of snobbery, because the implication is that these people are incapable of looking after their children.

This, it seems to me, is always the argument of those who would define how everyone else should live their life: I'm smarter and better than you, let me make your decisions for you."

Oh dear, you are being lazy again - your assumptions are again just that, assumptions. In your ivory tower has it ever occurred to you that when money is tight, short-cuts are more tempting, especially if they have been OK for others...or that some people are so badly educated that they could not read the writing on a bottle to tell whether it was licenced or not, or even be aware that regulation existed? By the way, as previously stated, this is not to condone their behaviour, it is to explain it - we have to think of the cheeeldren, you see.

Anonymous said...

Blogger SaltedSlug said...
" I imagine the deregulation of pharmaceuticals would be horrific."

Yeah, we might have mercury in vaccines instead of in a safe place like teeth...

This might seem harsh but all the problems that people seem to foresee from deregulation ALREADY occur under regulation.

JohnW

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Prevailing circumstances should always affect your behaviour: we're libertarians, not Muslims.

You present all the usual tedious justifications for someone else to make the decisions, someone who is invariably completely unaccountable.

If you take your special case illiterate to its logical conclusion then no-one should be allowed to do anything, lest one person, through no fault of his own, should come to harm.

Case 1: Really, nobody should ever drive a car, ever, because there is a very real possibility that a child may be with a distracted parent, run under a car and die.

Case 2:Really, all medicines have to be regulated because there is a very real possibility that some illiterate pauper might feed his kids something poisonous.

What is the difference?

SaltedSlug said...

JohnW

There's more mercury in a tuna sandwich than in a vaccine dose.

Thanks for making my point for me.

Mr Rob said...

"Case 1: Really, nobody should ever drive a car, ever, because there is a very real possibility that a child may be with a distracted parent, run under a car and die."

A slight exaggeration of the example under discussion - which example prompted you to say

"but I also drive even more cautiously than usual, as I am mindful that children do not have any sense of responsibility when it comes to possible traffic."

You refuse to acknowledge that in your own behaviour you make allowances for reality, and continue to argue for some libertarian utopia of perfectly exercised responsibilities where no such allowances need be made.

Your tendency to distort the position of others only serves to emphasise the weakness of your own. You also seem incapable of thinking in anything other than extremes.

That you curtail your own freedoms to protect the vulnerable is commendable, your propensity to rather obviously twist debate is not.

I am disappointed that you did not manage to fit the word egregious in anywhere.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

You seem to have missed a rather salient aspect of libertarianism: I voluntarily adjust my behaviour out of consideration for others, as would most sane people. However, a government instruction that I have to modify my behaviour in accordance with a risk that I consider acceptable is what I find unacceptable.

I find your oversight egregious.

Mr Rob said...

No oversight at all. In this instance, as with the case of the drugs, the risk was not to you, or even to someone capable of recognising it.

Your assumption regarding sanity and consideration for others is really quite sweet.

Thank you for your kind word.
Goodnight.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

And that, I guess, is the hallmark of the rabid evilness of those frothing right-wing anarchist lunatics: we assume that by default, people will take care of each other. We probably got this crazy idea from the survival and progress of the human race without the intervention of any wise government or regulators or tax and spend fucknuts.

But those who profess to really care about the weak and vulnerable are the first to slight people and regard them as unkind and uncharitable.

It's quite interesting, really.

Mr Rob said...

"We probably got this crazy idea from the survival and progress of the human race without the intervention of any wise government or regulators or tax and spend fucknuts."

Ah....of course, that will be the development of the human brotherhood under (sorry, wrong word) in co-operation with the Kings of Mesopotamia, the Pharaohs of Egypt, the Emperors of Persia and Rome, the Great Khans, the Emperors of China, various Brahmins and assorted royalty of Europe...

Does reality impinge on any aspect of your political faith? You libertarians are so like the socialists.

It really is egregiously interesting.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

You're right, as soon as humans evolved, a political system came with it. There's no way humanity ever existed without some sort of political overclass to direct our efforts.

Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Mr Rob, setting aside my idle fantasy for a perfect world for a moment: having watched that video, what do you think about the consequences of having big business help to draft legislation to "protect" us?

Anonymous said...

Tea anyone?

Mr Rob said...

Thank you, that was most refreshing.
Now..
"what do you think about the consequences of having big business help to draft legislation to "protect" us?"
In practice an enormously complicated question if, like me, you believe that in some cases regulation is necessary or even desirable - much simpler to argue against it altogether, then the complications do not arise.

All I can do, like many who hold conservative views, is to posit general guidelines that may have to be ignored where pragmatism demands:

To avoid unpleasant consequences, as far as possible;
keep regulation to a minimum
keep those who would profit from it away from drafting it (their technical expertise and practical co-operation may at times be necessary)
try to elect people with the intelligence not to fall for biased advice when framimg legislation
try to elect people who are not too corruptible
ask people if they want to be protected in the first place
keep regulation to a minimum (I may have said this before)

By no means perfect, but then neither are we.

Is there any more tea?